MOTM Winner - MacBane - Apple PowerMac G4 Mod
Regarding Images - Looks like something blew up and things didn't migrate nicely to the new OCN server. I will have to take some time soon to move everything over to OCN. Please be patient, I'll get there, until then here are a few shots:
Hi everyone, I'm new to the forums and thought I would share my latest project.
I have had an old "Sawtooth" PowerMac G4 lying around my office/man-cave for a couple of years just being used for website and Flash testing. It is now ten years old as of January and itâ€™s about time to retire it forever as the ancient and completely obsolete guts it has now make it next to useless when compared to the quad core tower that replaced it (that machine will be my entry into the 2010 Case Mod Contest). I do like this case as it's a classic but its time as a Mac is over, I plan to use it possibly as a LAN box or folding unit or something along those lines. And I am sure that there are a lot of people here who would love to see a Mac get gutted and turned into a PC, well here's a new way to do it. Looking in my parts bin I found more than enough (somewhat) modern components to put this thing together. Please note that this is my first mod, all input is welcomed.
EDIT Feb 19: Major hardware update, see post here.
Motherboard & CPU: Asus P5QL-EM and an Intel Pentium Dual Core E6300.
Video Card: BFG GeForce 9800GT 512Mb with AC Accelero 1 Rad.
Memory: 4Gb of OCZ DDR2-1066.
CPU Cooler: OCZ Vendetta 2 that I grabbed for $12
HD: A WD 320Gb SATA with a stock Intel heatsink thermally glued to it (it was part of my old folding box).
PSU: An OCZ 400W "Fatality".
And finally, a wireless card with a pretty good antenna as this machine will be used all over the place.
Here's what I am starting with:
Arrrgh ancient PowerPC, AGP and IDE!
Not a lot of connectivity here
The G4â€™s old motherboard is approximately the same size a Mini-ATX board with four standard spaced expansion slots, the motherboard posts do not line up with ATX standards so they will have to be removed and replaced. The rear panel will have to be altered to accommodate an ATX IO plate, and the optical drive bay will have to go as in its current location will hit the RAM and likely the tower style CPU cooler too when the side of the case is closed using its new M-ATX internals.
So letâ€™s tear this thing apart.
All of the plastic panels covering the steel interior are secured by the acrylic handles and feet using flat hex head socket caps, the whole thing came apart fairly easily and I was surprised by a few things I found. Considering that this thing is a decade old it was interesting to find a wireless antenna running from the motherboard section to both sides of the case, Iâ€™ll keep this to see if it can be put to use later in the project.
Apple hid a bunch of the system controller chips under the motherboard including a made in Canada system controller using the case itself as a heatsink, and an Intel AGP controller. Though kind of nostalgic all of this old junk has to go.
So with the machine stripped of its plastic shell and old PowerPC and IDE components I am left with this:
Here's where the big differences between my project and all of the other G3/G4 case mods start.
Now I have seen this type of project one before (here and here), but most G4 case to ATX conversions look like real hack jobs. One of the sources of problems with retrofitting this case for modern ATX components is that every single mod I have come across uses the old PSU mounting bracket that runs the whole length of the case, this greatly restricts the height of the CPU cooler (as seen in the image here from someone else's project) and provides a potential cable routing nightmare as ATX power supplies are not made for this type of case layout as the distance between the PSU and the MB changes between the open and closed positions of the case.
So I started with a seemingly easy solution; remove the old optical drive/PSU bracket and relocate the PSU.
The most logical position considering what else has to fit in there is to put it somewhere in front of the case and having it exhaust out of the bottom as the old PSU exhaust location will be fully occupied by the CPU tower cooler.
Another difference between MacBane and other G4 mods is where the hard drives are located, Apple originally left room for four drives to be mounted onto the bottom of the case using some steel plates. I plan to build a custom aluminum bracket that will hold both the hard drives and the PSU and be located in the front of the case.
Now all I have to worry about is clearance for the video card when the case PSU/HD bracket is mounted as the 9800GT with the Accelero S1 cooler needs about 10" to fit from the expansion card slot opening.
My next step is to remove the old PSU/Optical drive bracket seen running along the middle of the case. Since this machine will be used for folding or playing my games from Steam a built in Optical drive is not needed (I have a USB DVD-R if I ever need to used optical media down the road):
All that is required to remove it is to drill out a few rivets, super easy:
Looking better already:
Now to size up a M-ATX board using a junk board filled with PCI Cards for alignment to get an idea of how much of the back plate has to be edited.
So after a little measuring it looks like the easiest solution is to remove the entire backplate from the red line (drawn in the picture below) over to the right. Of course all of the expansion slots use the same piece of metal as the backplate and had to have a new rivet added to prevent any warping or wandering that might cause the motherboard to be mounted incorrectly later on in the project.
This tab has to go too if I want to use my audio jacks:
Now for some sparks:
And the end result of two cuts and a few rivets being drilled out; a nice open IO location ready for a new MB.
The standard ATX IO plate won't be used, instead I plan to build a custom one out of either Acrylic of Aluminum sometime soon.
Used a Popsicle stick with a dab of paint to mark the holes.
Nice and easy to see where to drill now.
I also figured out where I will be making a few edits to door latch mechanism that fits under the motherboard as I have new standoff locations to contend with.
Planning out the bracket dimensions using a POS power supply (the magic smoke left it long ago).
Time to give this case some real ventilation by ditching the grill on the side 120mm fan and adding another 120 to the bottom of the case.
The old PSU location is getting a face lift too as it will now be home to twin 80mm exhaust fans that will help keep this machine nice and frosty by comparison to the toaster oven it used to be.
After a marathon cutting session this thing is ready to breathe easy.
Time to tap the motherboard standoff holes.
And finally the construction of the HD-PSU bracket starts:
I test fitted it with the dead PSU and I am happy to report it fits perfectly, if it didn't I would be seriously ticked off.
Rails for two hard drives added
Used a pair of ancient 1 and 2Gb drives from the 90's for test fitting, so far looking good and there won't be many cables visible when I am done...awesome
More to come soon.
I really like your psu/hd rack
Looks like an amazing mod so far, I want to see completed pics now!
I like house music.
Glad to see the mod is well received, hopefully I'll have a chance to get a few hours of work in on it this week. Updates to follow shortly.
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